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In every incarnation of Batman I've ever seen, whenever he uses his grappling hook, it always hits the target and does whatever he needs it to do, such as saving himself and the person he dove over the cliff to save, or to catch the bad guy he knocked off the cliff but now wants to save. It doesn't seem to matter if it's the grapple gun, or the simple one he has to spin and throw himself.

Why is this?

The Wikipedia entry has this to say about it:

A handheld grappling hook that shoots out a claw-shaped projectile on a retractable high-tensile cord, which grabs onto a surface.
...
The hook is secured to the belt magnetically rather than being contained in the belt. It has been portrayed as a portable grappling hook line to be manually thrown onto a higher surface or vantage point for him to climb it to the targeted area. However, in more recent incarnations, his overall grappling gear is composed of a line-launching, gun-like device that shoots the line to pull Batman towards his targeted area or to pull a target towards Batman.

None of this describes how it always grabs onto a surface. I'm aware each continuity's grappling tech might not be exactly the same, but I'm wondering if there's any common denominator that they might share that could explain this phenomenon.

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    Because HE'S BATMAN.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 3, 2018 at 18:39
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    "...it always hits the target and does whatever he needs it to do, such as saving himself and the person he dove over the cliff to save..." Well, in terms of the story progression, what's the alternative? The grappling hook misses and Batman and his +1 fall to their death. Tune in next week for our brand new series: Batman: Because He's Zombie!
    – Ellesedil
    Commented Jan 3, 2018 at 18:41
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    In the game, Batman Arkham Asylum, there's a part where Batman makes his way through an old sewer system. When you try using the grapnel, it doesn't hold. I believe the game tells you that the bricks are too weak or old to support it. Commented Jan 3, 2018 at 18:45
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    For the same reason cars on TV or in the movies never run out of gas or need maintenance unless it's relevant to the plot. Commented Jan 3, 2018 at 19:08
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    An episode of Justice League Action features a view of an early Batman adventure where he does miss. The only plausible answer as to why this is an anomaly: training, practice, and natural aptitude.
    – Politank-Z
    Commented Jan 4, 2018 at 0:14

2 Answers 2

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One advantage is that Gotham City is a very...gothic place. Architecture is full of cornices, gargoyles and other gnarly features that provide ways to secure a rope.

Even outside Gotham, Batman doesn't miss often, but he does miss. The following sequence is from "Justice League Unlimited" Season 2, Episode 11, "Panic in the Sky"

A super powered Lex Luthor throws Batman through the window, breaking it. As Batman can be seen falling down from the top of LexCorp's building, he shoots his grappling hook to try and save himself. But the hook bounces off against the wall of LexCorp and he inevitably continues his fall towards the ground.

But, it's simply the nature of the genre. None of the superheroes who throw a swing line miss. Heroes that hurl or shoot any doodad rarely miss. As said elsewhere, Batman and his colleagues are just that good

(The wannabe heroes that do miss may, at best, get a few lines near the obituaries of the Daily Planet or Daily Bugle. Perhaps with the cause of death "apparent suicide". There is a harsh evolutionary learning curve in the business.)

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  • The episode that followed depicted him successfully using his grappling, although it was unclear if he shot at LexCorp's building again or if he tried a neighbouring building.
    – Clockwork
    Commented Jun 20, 2023 at 14:44
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    I wonder if Lex ordered his building with the extra-smooth gloss black exterior just in case this ever happened. "You know, Batman's probably going to try grappling his way in here one day..."
    – Cadence
    Commented Jun 20, 2023 at 22:27
  • @Cadence It's likely that he just asked for his building to be as tough as possible. You know, especially since there's a man of steel that keeps brawling around.
    – Clockwork
    Commented Jun 21, 2023 at 7:58
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In addition to that usually, all superheroes are skilled marksmen, Batman is noted to be an exceptional marksman even though he doesn't use guns.

In the comic "Batman Year Two: Fear The Reaper" by Mike W. Barr where Batman fights a vigilante that kills criminals, called The Reaper, he breaks his vow to never use guns and arms himself with the pistol that killed his parents. He practices shooting at the Batcave and is shown to be a very accurate shooter, hitting the target dead on. With his natural marksmanship skills, some practice with the grappling gun and experience, he is probably a very good shooter with the grappling gun as well.

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